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Business and governance

The manufacture of processed foods and beverages represents one of the world’s most stable growth markets – and is expected to enjoy continuous growth over the coming decades. As a listed company, GEA has a particular responsibility to its investors. Our focus is on growth, operational efficiency as well as cash management. GEA’s primary objective is to sustainably increase enterprise value by achieving profitable growth.

Business and Governance

Achieving this is inextricably linked to how we act and behave as a company. Given our commitment to sustainable value creation, corporate governance is an essential element of business management and deeply affects each and every aspect of the group’s day-to-day operations. 

Quality, efficiency and safety, and the appropriate conduct within the framework of business activities are very important to our customers, not only in terms of GEA’s products and services, but along the entire supply chain. Our adherence to basic compliance standards, including occupational safety and environmental protection in the supply and value chain, ensures the necessary trust required for long-term business relationships which is why we give them our highest level of attention.

Compliance management

Compliance represents a group-wide principle set up to ensure adherence to the rule of law as well as internal corporate policies. All GEA employees are obliged to make sure that no compliance violations are committed in their respective areas of responsibility.  

To avoid the serious consequences of potential compliance violations, GEA manages these risks by means of a compliance management system designed for analysis, information and awareness raising, control, process definition as well as monitoring purposes, revised in the year under review. The new system was audited in accordance with audit standard IDW PS 980 as of December 31, 2018, with the audit being certified on January 29, 2019. In addition, there is a certified reporting system (“Business Keeper Monitoring System,“ BKMS). The management approach is verified via internal and external audits conducted by Group Internal Audit and/or external auditors. 

Learn more about the certified reporting system (“Business Keeper Monitoring System,“ BKMS) >>

Protection of personal data

For an innovative and global enterprise like GEA, information and its use are of significant importance for accomplishing the set corporate targets. GEA protects the privacy of every individual whose personal data are processed by the company. This includes employees, customers, suppliers, other contracting partners as well as job applicants and applies to all GEA companies and specialist departments handling personal data. Privacy breaches may entail considerable penalties and even result in fines and imprisonment in some countries. 

Therefore, GEA insists on the implementation of data protection rules and regulations and reserves the right to take action against anybody failing to comply with data protection laws. For instance, this includes disciplinary measures, but also the enforcement of damages.  

The company’s recast Data Protection Policy launched in 2019 specifies guidelines and recommendations for action addressed to all employees with a view to avoiding privacy incidents or privacy breaches. It forms part of GEA’s global compliance principles and is supplemented by classroom-based training for employees working in sensitive areas as well as e-learning measures for all employees with a user account. 2019 also saw the introduction of the corresponding data protection management system. The latter covers all organizational aspects, i.e. the roles, tasks and responsibilities as regards the processing of personal data, regardless of the type of individuals affected (including employees, customers, suppliers, shareholders etc.) or the technical means for processing such data. It also includes additional channels for reporting risks and violations; GEA already complies with the short response times that are legally required. 

Compliance with data protection regulations and applicable data protection laws is verified on a regular basis. These checks are performed by the company’s respective data protection officers and further corporate divisions vested with audit rights or by commissioned external auditors. Third party providers are vetted on the basis of self-declarations, audits as well as certificates.

Supply chain

Responsibility for the environment is of key importance, not only with regard to GEA’s products and services, but along the entire supply chain. The trust required for retaining long-term business relationships is only ensured by adhering to fundamental environmental protection standards along the entire supply and value chain, which is why compliance in this field is given highest priority. As an engineering group with a high level of materials expertise, GEA globally purchases raw materials, goods and services solely from qualified suppliers to ensure the long-term success of its customers by providing innovative product and service solutions. 

The registration process for suppliers requires that the latter commit to the company’s dedicated “Code of Conduct for Suppliers and Subcontractors.” This set of rules specifies the commitment to engage in environmentally compatible business practices and renounce the use of conflict materials. 

GEA expressly requires its business partners to generally apply the values and rules set out in the Code of Corporate Responsibility. For ensuring compliance with these values and the rules of corporate social responsibility along the entire value chain, GEA has adopted its own Code of Conduct for Suppliers and Subcontractors. GEA practices a zero-tolerance policy with regard to unethical behavior in business, in particular when it comes to bribery, corruption, money laundering or child and forced labor.  

GEA’s Code of Conduct defines the basic principles and requirements applicable to all suppliers of goods and services, their subcontractors as well as the group entities of suppliers and subcontractors as regards their responsibility towards society, the environment and the individuals involved in the production of goods and the rendering of services. These obligations embrace the recognition of the ISO 26000 Guidance on Social Responsibility, compliance with international standards, respect for human rights – including the prohibition of child and forced labor as well as discrimination – fair wages and working hours, freedom of association as well as health and safety at work.

Certifications

As early as 2016, GEA started clustering its sites with integrated management systems under the umbrella of a unified GEA certificate. GEA Group Aktiengesellschaft, headquartered in Düsseldorf, is certified to ISO 9001:2015, ISO 14001:2015, ISO 45001:2018 as well as ISO 50001:2011 and, thus, heads the group of certified sites. 

In the year under review, the umbrella certificate was up for renewal, a procedure that is required every three years. In this context, a total of 14 companies were audited, with the umbrella certificate being successfully renewed. In addition, all certifications to BS OHSAS 18001 were switched to the new ISO 45001 standard in line with the set target. 

Step by step, additional GEA companies are being integrated into the umbrella certificate, with the company seeking to cover the entire range of production and service sites with the three management systems ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 by 2025. Integration priority is subject to the expiry dates of the respective certificates awarded. In the year under review, two companies were integrated into the umbrella certificate. The number of certificates is still declining, for instance due to the fact that some sites were merged and not all sites continue to hold all certificates as before. On the other hand, further sites were certified to health and safety as well as environmental management systems. 

Management system Number of certificates 2019 Number of certificates 2018 Number of certificates under umbrella certificate 2019 Number of certificates under umbrella certificate 2018 Covered by umbrella certificate 2019
DIN EN ISO 9001:2015 89 105 67 86 75
DIN EN ISO 14001:2015 38 30 18 17 47
BS OHSAS 18001:2007 25 12
DIN EN ISO 45001:2018 30 14 47
DIN EN ISO 50001:2011 16 17 4 5 25

Download certificates >>

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